Miserable Composter

by Sheila Mann
(Frankfort, KY)

I have dreams and aspirations. So I planted my little garden, and bought a small tumbling composter (2 chambers).

Several weeks have elapsed. I'm like a little kid looking for Easter eggs: I run out in the morning, turn it a few times, and peek inside. Nothing but the same mess: undigested weeds, vegetable scraps, and mud.

I don't get it. It's just not fair to be this excited and not get results (I've been married twice, I know what I'm talking about).

I have studied the nitrogen/carbon thing carefully. I got straw; I got carrot leavings; I got lawn clippings; I got bona-fide garden dirt. what I don't got is action in the tumbler. Maybe I better dump it out and order a load of horse manure.

I figure that I will get three eggplants (if the flea beetles don't beat me to it) at about $2.12 per; fourteen tomatoes at about $.50 per; and if the Lord makes his countenance to shine upon me: a couple decent little watermelons. But not unless I get COMPOST.

You Are So Funny...

Hi Sheila...
I love your question. You are so funny. But how to solve this problem. We got to get you some action...

Two possibilities are the problem... you don't got critters or you don't got enough moisture.

You said you've put some soil in the tumbler. If you have a neighbor somewhere who has a handful of compost to give you that might be better. Failing that a handful or two of that horse manure could be just the ticket.

But given the lack of action I think things may be too dry in the tumbler. Moisture is essential for action. Can you squeeze a few drops of water out of your material? If not add water.

Don't add a lot at once. You have a small tumbler so add a cup or two, give it a day or two and check. Things should be hotter and be starting to decompose.

Hope this turns out to be the problem... easily fixed and veggies on the way.


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